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Campus Updates


In Wake of COVID-19, Chinese International Students Carry Heavy Burdens

The Amherst Student

By Shawna Chen, Editor-in-Chief Emerita || March 11, 2020

Shawna Chen '20 raises the voices of worry, reflection, and uncertainty from a number of Amherst students in her article, "In Wake of COVID-19, Chinese International Students Carry Heavy Burdens."

Crystal 'Zhou '21 knows Amherst cares, but worries about how the lack of policy might hurt Chinese international students. She also worries about what she sees as America’s inadequate response to the virus, from government officials downplaying the severity of the pandemic to testing kit shortages and the astronomical fees for treatment. “My mom is more worried about me here in the U.S.,” Zhou related.

Ariana Lee '20 encouraged the campus community to be mindful that students are directly impacted by the coronavirus and are constantly in a state of concern. She asked that people be aware of the “racial implications of this disease and how it’s also affecting Asians and Asian Americans at large.”'

Read more of Chen's article here.


Amherst Lacrosse Players Chant N-Word Outside of Black Player's Suite

On March 7th, a Black Lacrosse player was harassed while he was inside his dorm room, by three white teammates, as they chanted the n-word. The Amherst Student reported it here.

Members of the Amherst Young Alumni of Color group quickly took action and drafted a letter to the administration. Alumni of color and allies may sign in solidarity here.

Alumni Reflections

Alumni Reflections

James C. Tsai, '85, Trustee Emeritus

In the 35 years since I graduated from Amherst, I have been delighted by the continued growth of Asian-American enrollment at the college. In the early 1980’s, superlative liberal arts colleges such as Amherst were less popular (than leading universities) among top Asian-American applicants; as a result, there were few Asian-Americans in my freshman class. Nevertheless, the Asian-American student community was quite supportive, and the Asian Students Association (ASA) served as a unifying force. To this day, I am proud of my membership and service as President of the ASA, as well as our advocacy for the creation of a Minority Students at Amherst College recruitment brochure (published in 1983).

Singapore meet-up:

2020 New Year's Gathering

Alumni Meet-Up

Amherst alumni in Singapore held a New Year’s gathering on Thursday, Feb 20th, 2020. Hosted by Forest Shultz '01 and Jae Heo '08, the group of ~15 Amherst alumni had a great evening, reminiscing about the good old times at Amherst. This event was a very special one because it was the first time they invited Williams alumni to join their gathering. Despite this good will gesture, the competitive spirit was as strong as ever, with both the Amherst and Williams cohorts vying to have the most alumni represented. Jae Heo proudly reported that by the end of the night, Amherst alumni outnumbered those from Williams by a small margin! All attendees had a wonderful evening and look forward to co-hosting future events together. They are all looking forward to growing the Amherst & Williams networks in Singapore and Southeast Asia region!

If you are interested in hosting a meet-up in your region, feel free to reach out to us, and we will gladly help you connect with other alumni in your area!

On Campus Events

EvEnts On Campus

Cha Time: (In)visibility & Asian American Studies Womxn Scholars

Monday, December 9, 2019

Center for Humanistic Inquiry Think Tank, Frost Library

Amherst College

Amherst's Asian American Studies Working Group and Asian Students Association hosted their second-ever Cha Time, an ongoing panel featuring Amherst College's Asian American Studies scholars. At this event, they discussed gendered (in)visibility within the Asian American and Asian American Studies community. The discussion considered what its mean to be an Asian American womxn and featured writers-in-residence Min Jin Lee and Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint, and CHI Fellow Lili Kim. Presented by Amherst students enrolled in Asian American Feminisms with Professor Miliann Kang at UMass.

Amer-Asia: Object Lessons in Early Modern Connectivity

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

UMass Amherst

"Amer-Asia: Object Lessons in Early Modern Connectivity" was a symposium on early modern global connectivities with the keynote lecture "Asia in the American Southwest: A Pair of Mexican Copper Bells" by Liz Horodowich (New Mexico State University) with contributions on individual objects:

  • Ximena Gómez: “Playing Out Casta on a Japanese Screen in Colonial Mexico”

  • Siyu Shen: "Japan in Mexico: The Fantasy World in Nicolás Correa's Enconchado"

  • George Qiao: "The Curious Case of the Ricci Map and Its Non-Impact in Early Modern China"

COVID-19: An Interdisciplinary Roundtable on the Coronavirus


Wednesday, March 4, 2020 7:00-8:30 pm

Pruyne Lecture Hall

Fayerweather 115



Katherine Mason, Medical Anthropologist, Brown University - Author of Infectious Change: Reinventing Chinese Public Heal after an Epidemic

Many Muller, Virologist, UMass Amherst Department of Microbiology

Andrew Lover, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, UMass Amherst School of Public Health

George Qiao, Historian of China, Amherst College

Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall Room SSCE A011

Amherst College

Speaker: Dr. David Eng, Richard L. Fisher Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania

This presentation comes from my forthcoming book, “Reparations and the Human,” which explores the history of reparations in Cold War Asia, beginning with New World discovery and indigenous dispossession and concluding with the biopolitical aftermath of atomic destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Reparation is a key term in political theory, but it is also a central concept in psychoanalysis, in particular object relations, yet the two are rarely discussed in relation to one another. “Reparations and the Human” examines how political and psychic genealogies of reparation can supplement one another in conceptions of the human and human rights after genocide and nuclear holocaust.

This presentation will focus on the afterword to my book, “Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness,” which investigates the history of uranium mining and “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb detonated by the U.S. military over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Much of the world’s uranium supply is mined from indigenous lands, and the uranium for Little Boy, too, came in part from the lands of the Sahtu Dene, an indigenous peoples in Great Bear Lake, Canada. Ignorant at the time of how their mining efforts would be applied and the destination of the ore, the Sahtu Dene nonetheless felt implicated once they learned of Hiroshima’s fate. In response to the disaster, they sent a delegation to Hiroshima to apologize. I will discuss the Sahtu Dene’s response to the atomic bombing in order to extend Jacques Derrida’s notion of “absolute forgiveness” and to develop a corollary concept: “absolute apology."

Xenophobia in America: How We Got Here and What's At Stake

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Integrative Learning Center, N151

UMass Amherst

Speaker: Dr. Erika Lee, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies and Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But as award-winning author and historian Erika Lee will discuss, the U.S. is also a nation of xenophobia. An irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial to the Trump era. Drawing from her new book, America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States, Lee forces us to confront this history and explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America.


community profiles

Community Profiles

Tenzin Kunor is Director of the Center for Diversity & Student Leadership at Amherst College. Read his full interview here.


Within the last four years, I've really been able to observe the emergence and development of the advocacy work for Asian American Studies...It's been inspiring to see students advocating for more representation within the curriculum, especially in an institutional and structural way.

          -Tenzin Kunor


Interesting Reads

Asian-American experiences during COVID-19, A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Boba Guys founder on what it's like to lay off 400 employees in a single day... Explore our interesting reads of the season!


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